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Object of Intrigue: The Hidden Hillary Clinton Bench

Early '90s Hillary and Socks, sitting patiently in storage. (Photo courtesy of Christine Louw)The 13—soon to be 14—presidential libraries administered by the National Archives across the United States...

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Starving Felons, and Other Lessons from Prison Archaeology

The view from an observation tower built to accommodate tourists who flocked to Old Newgate. (Photo: Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office)William Stuart didn't really mind sleeping 50 feet...

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Exploring the Underground Railroad, in Brooklyn

  A statue of Henry Ward Beecher by Gutzon Borglum in the garden of Plymouth Church. (Photo: Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock.com)Walking today through the tiny neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights, from the...

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FOUND: A Portrait That Just Might Be William Shakespeare

Is this what Shakespeare looked like? (Image: Screenshot via Country Life)This might be Shakespeare's face, as a 33-year-old, after he had written A Midsummer's Night Dream, but before he wrote...

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The Ghost Of Bruce Wayne’s Real-Life Namesake Haunts Pennsylvania

 A print of General Anthony Wayne, 1878 (Photo: Library of Congress)In the far west of the Philadelphia suburbs, just before the affluent Main Line area turns into horse-breeding farms, there is a...

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Everything Dies: 8 Graveyards For Anything But Humans

Visit here on Obscura Day! (Photo: Jen Lukehart)Spoiler alert: we're all going to die. But we need not despair, because we're not alone! In fact everything dies in its time. As the universe slips...

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The Opium-Smoking Author Who Lived With Pygmies in Congo

 A portrait of Emily Hahn taken in Shanghai by Sir Victor Sassoon c. 1937-1937 (Photo: DeGolyer Library, SMU)This is the fifth part in a series about early female explorers. Previous installments can...

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Mountains Aren't the Shape You Think

'Comparitive shapes and heights of mountains' by Ambroise Tardieu and and Louis Bruguiere, 1817 (Photo: Wellcome Library, London/CC BY-SA 4.0)What is the shape of a mountain?We're taught to think of a...

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Pseudocides: 5 of History's Most Elaborate Fake Deaths

(Photo: Mr. Nikon/shutterstock.com)The faking of one's own death, while popular in the annals of daytime soaps, is ill-advised. Whether staged as a means of escaping financial ruin, evading criminal...

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Found: Giant Boulders Delicately Balancing on Comet 67P

Comet 67P, on May 3, 2015 (Photo: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM)From a distance, the cluster of three boulders on the face of Comet 67p look a little bit like pimples or warts.Look closely in the center of that...

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Lake Palmer: Nashville's Accidental Lake

 Lake Palmer, in all its glory, circa 2009 (Photo: David Antis/Flickr)Officially, Lake Palmer does not exist. And it's only one of many unnatural bodies of water around Nashville, Tennessee.Lake Palmer...

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The Atlas Excerpt: Banvard's Folly

An Illustration showing John Banvard presenting his panorama to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle, 1849 (Photo: Courtesy Erkki Huhtamo, 'Illusions in Motion:  Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama...

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Places You Can No Longer Go: The House of Detention for Women

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FOUND: Two Horses That Stood Outside Hitler's Chancellery

The Reich Chancellery, 1939 (Image: German Federal Archives/Wikimedia)The last time anyone saw Josef Thorak's "Walking Horses," in 1989, they were outside of Berlin, in the middle of a sports field at...

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Electroshock Machines and Einstein's Brain: Inside 3 Macabre Medical Museums

An anatomical model at the Mütter. (Photo: istolethetv/Flickr)Some people like to spend their weekends windsurfing. Others prefer to examine bits of brains, peer into jars stuffed with deformed body...

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The Race to Build the World's Greatest Supercomputer

 Part of the Dutch supercomputer 'Cartesius' (Photo: Dennis van Zuijlekom/Flickr)For the past two years, since June 2013, the top supercomputer in the world has been Tianhe-2. (Its name translates to...

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7 Bizarre, Real-Life Tributes to Fairy Tales

Decoration on the Gingerbread Castle. (Photo: Amanda Petrozzini)Fairy tales have not always been child-friendly. Their origins are often morbid, murderous and cannibalistic. However, it takes a special...

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Minnesota: Land Of 10,000 Dessert Salads

 Ingredients for Watergate Salad (Photo:Mark Pellegrini/Wiki Commons CC BY-SA 1.0) About 10 years ago, Emily Weiss' sister began making a very special salad that she learned from her in-laws. "It...

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Found: The Most Luminous Galaxy Ever Seen

An artist's depiction of what the galaxy might look like (Image: NASA)The light from the galaxy WISE J224607.57-052635.0 traveled 12.5 billion light years before us humans detected it. But when...

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How to Get Rid of Your Exotic Pet, No Questions Asked

Scenes from an exotic pet amnesty in Florida. (All photos: Oliver Lee)Hypothetical question: If you acquire a baby Burmese python and realize, too late, that it can grow up to 20 feet in length and...

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